Tag Archives: Darth Vader

Christmas Gift Guide for Elementary School Aged Boys | 2014 Edition

Having raised Mark to the point where he is now in high school and with Oliver in Grade 1, I have some experience in Christmas shopping for school aged boys.  You can read my gift guide for teenagers here and my ideas for what to get a school aged boy below.  If you have any other suggestions or ideas, let me know in the comments.

LEGO Superheroes Batman: Man-Bat Attack

LEGO Superheroes Batman: Man-Bat Attack

Includes Batman, Man-Bat and Night Wing (who used to be Robin).  You child will be saving Gotham non-stop with this set.

Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet

Fire HD Kids Edition Tablet

All-new Fire HD 6 or Fire HD 7 tablet—with 1 year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited, Kid-Proof Case, and a 2-year worry-free guarantee

  • A real tablet, not a toy—A quad-core processor for great performance, a vivid HD display, front and rear-facing cameras, and Dolby Audio
  • Built for even the toughest kids—Enjoy the peace of mind with an unprecedented 2-year worry-free guarantee—if they break it, return it and we’ll replace it for free. No questions asked
  • Don’t worry about the bill—The Kids Edition includes a year of Amazon FreeTime Unlimited so kids get unlimited access to 5,000 books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games—at no additional cost. Learn more
  • Starts in Amazon FreeTime—Built from the ground up for kids, the background color and fonts change to a kid-friendly design. Kids can navigate visually to content based on characters or topics. Parents can exit Amazon FreeTime mode with a passcode
  • Best-in-class parental controls—Personalize screen time limits, set educational goals, and choose which titles kids can access from your own personal content collection
  • Take and edit photos in Amazon FreeTime—Snap photos within Amazon FreeTime mode using front and rear cameras. Fun editing tools lets kids explore their creative side by adding stickers, drawing on their pictures, and more
  • Kid-Proof Case—Durable, lightweight case to protect against drops and bumps caused by kids at play.

We gave Oliver Wendy’s old Kobo Vox tablet last year.  We tossed on some educational games, some apps, and he loves it.  We did the same with an old 2nd Gen iPod Touch that we loaded up with music.  He is careful and responsible with it.  With the Amazon Fire HD case and apps, it makes introducing your child to a computer even easier.

LEGO Super Heroes Daily Bugle Showdown

LEGO Super Heroes Daily Bugle Showdown

This time it is Spiderman saving The Daily Bugle and J. Jonah Jamieson from certain doom.  The only question I have is, will Peter Parker get a picture of Spiderman.

Nerf Mega ThunderBow Blaster

Nerf Mega ThunderBow Blaster


Nerf guns are all over our house.  There is nothing quite like wandering down into my basement and being ambushed by both my kids.  If you want to add to their arsenal of fun Nerf weapons that are good inside and out, consider the Nerf Mega ThunderBow Blaster.  Five bullets and lots of fun.

If you want to survive those ambushes, you may want to pick up one of these for yourself.

Franklin Sports Indoor 2-in-1 Goal Set

Franklin Sports Indoor 2-in-1 hockey set

There are a great gift.  Indoor hockey played on your knees has been a Canadian tradition for decades.  So has mothers complaining about having to patch the knees of pants.  Of course with them being sized or indoor use, they are perfect for when it is too cold to play outside.

Lincoln Logs Classic Edition Tin

Lincoln Logs Classic Edition Tin

The old classic is still around.  It includes 86 all wood pieces.

LEGO Super Heroes The Batcave

The Lego Batcave

If you don’t have your own Batcave, this is the second best thing.

Star Wars R2D2 Projection Alarm Clock

R2-D2 alarm clock

How cool is this.  An R2-D2 that projects the time onto the walls.  “Help me Obi-Wan, you are our only hope of waking up on time…”

LEGO Kids Star Wars Storm Trooper Mini-Figure Alarm Clock

Lego Star Wars Stormtrooper Alarm Clock

A great option for the kid who struggles to wake up is the Lego Star Wars Storm Trooper alarm clock.  Plus nothing helps you sleep well than knowing you are beside an elite trooper who lost a key battle to a bunch of Ewoks.

The stories of Obi-Wan Kenobi / Darth Vader / Luke Skywalker by Ryder Windham.

Star Wars: Life and Legend of Obi-Wan KenobiStar Wars: The Rise and Fall of Darth VaderThe Life of Luke Skywalker

Apple iPod Shuffle



We passed down an iPod Shuffle to Oliver a couple of years ago.  It is small and easy for him to use.  Even the 2gb version is enough to load him up with music for the longest of roadtrips.  Combine it with these kid-friendly Batman Headphones and you have a gift that they will love as much as you love the silence.

Batman Kid-Safe Headphones

Batman Kid-Safe Headphones

Kid Safe headphones have a volume limiter meaning that your child will not be at risk of hearing damage.  Over the ear design also means that they won’t get headaches either.   It’s a great add on to the Kindle Fire for Kids or the iPod Shuffle.

XBOOM Mini Portable Capsule Speaker with Rechargeable Battery and Enhanced Bass+ Resonator

XBOOM Mini Portable Capsule Speaker with Rechargeable Battery and Enhanced Bass+ Resonator

Sometimes kids want to listen to their music out loud!  For those times, a portable, small, and rechargeable speaker that provides great sound is the way to go.    It provides great sound but won’t overpower your house.   The also have a modular “Buddy-Plug” Design: Integrated stowaway 3.5mm stereo audio jack plug and socket connects multiple XBOOM Mini Portable Capsule speakers together for maximum sound.  So if one isn’t getting the job done, you can keep adding speakers.  They are compatible with any device that has a headphone jack, so phones, iPods, or any MP3 player.

Risk: The Game of Global Domination

Risk: The Game of Global Domination

Despite the game being for players 10 and older, Oliver has been loving the game for a couple of years.   Instead of getting your child a game that only they will like for a year or two, why not start them playing some games the entire family can play for a lifetime?

Bachmann Trains Royal Gorge Ready-to-Run HO Train Scale Train Set

Royal Gorge H0 Model Train Set

Remember your first H0 model train set?  How about a set that is modelled after  Colorado’s oldest scenic line?  It combines rich history, spectacular views and stylish accommodations into a train that takes you on a 24-mile journey through the 1,000 Feet deep Royal Gorge. Passengers travel alongside the Arkansas River on a ribbon of rail for an up-close nature show deep in the canyon, observing bald eagles, blue heron, bighorn sheep, mule deer, and flora native to the gorge.

How much fun would any kid have opening this set on Christmas morning?

Hohner 1/2 Sized Classical Guitar

Hohner 1/2 Sized Classical Guitar

The Hohner HAG250P is a handcrafted classical guitar with an Agathis top back and sides. This wood match-up creates a crisp texture to the overall sound of the instrument. The smaller scale of this instrument (considered 1/2 sized) is specially designed with the younger player in mind and is highly recommended for the players that are starting between the ages of 5-9. This instrument also comes equipped with light gauge nylon strings for easier fingering as to not discourage the first time player.

Spy Gear for His Latest Adventure

Night Vision Googles

Night Vision Googles

Utility Belt with Micro Spy Tools like a Micro Ear Light, Micro Listener, Micro Motion Alarm and Invisible Ink Pen on every surveillance mission

Utility Belt with Micro Spy Tools

The coolest utility belt that doesn’t belong to Batman.

Spy Gear Walkie Talkies with a 2 mile range

Spy Gear Walkie Talkies with a 2 mile range

Because every great adventure needs a team and a two mile radius is very, very impressive.

Christmas Gift GuideIf I missed anything or if my suggestion made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guides here.

A Darth Vader Piñata

A Darth Vader Piñata

I had planned to go to the cabin this weekend but last week Chris Powell came into my office and asked if he could borrow Mark this weekend.  A good parent would have gotten some details but I said, “Sure, what do you need him for?”  Chris said, “A human piñata”.  Sounds reasonable to me.

Later I asked, why Mark was going to be beaten with sticks and I found out he was planning to have a Star Wars themed birthday party for his six year old and he needed someone for them to hit with lightsabers and he thought Mark could take the punishment and be Darth Vader.

Now that is some fine birthday planning folks.  Not only is Chris putting on a good party but he has outsourced the pain to someone else.  Of course it isn’t all good.  We had a heated discussion at the office when we found out that Chris is not sending home party bags.  Chris’ weak argument is that parents and even kids hate bags full of toys that are designed to break in the car ride home.  If they do make it inside, parents just step on them and hurt themselves.

To that line of reasoning we say, “I want a guy with a parachute to throw down the stairs”.  That and Mark is now available to be rented out for beatings at your own kids party.

Christmas Gift Guide: Gift Ideas for your Tween Boy | 2010 Edition

Mark is now ten which makes him officially impossible to buy Christmas gifts for.  He is too old for kids stuff and too young for adult things.  We have tossed around hundreds of ideas for Mark and here are a bunch of ideas that we thought could make your Christmas shopping a little easier this year.

I don’t know what is the right age to get your son a cell phone is.  If you think this is the year, check out this Samsung m330 through Virgin Mobile.  Virgin has a $10/month plan that offers 100 anytime minutes and for $5 more, you can get 100 texts.  It has a camera phone, takes videos and is small enough to slip into their pocket.  A tip from a friend of mine: To keep your kids from burning through their minutes, he made it mandatory that their phone was active if they wanted to go out.   With that rule, they rationed their minutes like it was a precious commodity.  $60-$70 (with no contract) at Best Buy / Future Shop / Virgin Mobile / Walmart.

A lot of gift guides this year will be touting a PS3, a XBox 360, a PSP, or a Wii and for good reason.  There are a lot of really good games out there for all of those systems.  They don’t get the same kind of attention but have you thought about giving a H0 Scale train set or a slot track race track.

Bachmann Trains Santa Fe Flyer Ready-to-Run H0 Scale Train Set | The Santa Fe railroad was famous for hauling freight across the deserts, mountains, and cities of the American landscape is the Santa Fe Flyer. Powered by a Santa Fe EMD FT diesel locomotive with its distinctive war bonnet paint scheme, this powerful train handled the ever-changing terrain of the Southwest United States.  The advantage of any train set that is H0 scale is that you can add more cars, engines, and track over time as you can afford it.  It makes a great gift now and for the future.  $50 from Amazon.

While we are talking about H0 scale trains, Model Power has a starter set (power unit, 36” circle of track, and four cars) for about $50.  The enjoyable part about a H0 scale train set is that there are thousands of accessories and different pieces that can be added for years to come.

If your kid is a reader (and even if he isn’t), you will want to check out the stories of Obi-Wan Kenobi / Darth Vader / Luke Skywalker by Ryder Windham.  With most boys being Star Wars fan (and who isn’t), you may want to check out these biographies of some of the main characters in the Star Wars saga.  While you are looking at books, don’t forget the classics.  I bought Mark a copy of The Hobbit this summer and he was enthralled by such an old school book.  Don’t forget  The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.  In other words there were great books before J.K. Rowling invented Harry Potter.

Go Amp Gaming Amplifier | If the target of your affections is a gamer, here is a fun addition to his Sony PSP or Nintendo DS and is a good way to get some better sound out of your portable gaming system.  It’s a small portable amp that plugs into the headphone jack on your portable game system and does a good job of increasing the volume of any game system.  Since First Act knows it’s target audience is hard on batteries, it turns on & off automatically when headphone jack inserted or removed.  $3 at XS Cargo of you can purchase at $40 from Amazon.

Polaroid a200 Digital Camera | This camera is an entry level camera for first time photographers.  For years I have passed down my digital cameras to Mark and what I found is that he never used the zoom or any of the other advanced features.  That being said, neither did I which is why my Kodak point and click with it’s 110 film was so much fun.  It personified point and shoot.

The camera has 8MB of internal storage which allows you to store 120 images or video for $30.  The bad part of the camera is that it’s internal memory is wiped if the batteries run out and it doesn’t have a lens cover which means you will always be fighting smudges and dust on the lens.  Then again it is a $30 camera.  Pick it up at Amazon

Polaroid DVF-130RC Digital Camcorder | We gave Mark a compact digital video camcorder last Christmas and he has loved it.  Over the last year we have given several others out as gifts and the recipients have really liked them.  It’s a point and shoot camera that captures VGA quality video at 30 fps.  Yeah that isn’t HD quality but with most of us sharing digital video via Facebook and YouTube more and more often, the lack of HD isn’t as big of issue.  It’s got 16MB of built in memory so you will want to make sure to toss in a SD card in along with it.  In most places you can get anywhere from a 2GB to a 8GB card for under $10.

While I am not an avid golfer, I enjoy the game and so does Mark.  The City of Saskatoon makes it affordable for parents to go golfing at Silverwood Golf Course.  Now while Silverwood is a nice short golf course by itself, it is designed for beginner golfers and during the summer has several specials that make it even easier to take a younger golfer along with you.  Mark’s clubs were bought second hand but it’s fun to add a new putter, a package of golf balls, or even some golf gloves to the mix.  Now the best part about golfing with Mark is not the golf game but the two or three hours we have talking about life, cracking jokes, and enjoying a snack afterwards.

Speaking of sports, Wilson has a great junior sized football which is quite a bit easier to throw and catch then a full sized CFL, NCAA or NFL football.  not only is the ball a little lighter, it is designed for kid sized hands so when they through it, they can get a spiral with it.  Not only is it good for them, it is good for you as it makes it easier to through the deep post and look good while doing it.

GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra for Wii | I know GI Joe was cooler when I was a kid but this is the version that kids these days have now.  You can choose from twelve G.I. JOE characters, each with unique weapons and abilities, and unlock additional COBRA characters.  It’s a fun adventure game and will give him hours of fun in front of the Wii.

Mario Kart for Wii | While you can play Mario Kart by yourself, where it gets to be even more fun is when you have the entire family racing each other.  Of all of the video games we have as a family, none gets all of us playing together like this one.

iPod Shuffle | It has 2 GB capacity for about 2000 songs and you can play up to 15 hours on a single charge.  With a press of the VoiceOver button, you can hear the song’s title and artist, playlist menu, or battery status. Available from Amazon.  A far cheaper 2 GB option is this MP3 Player from Nextar.  It comes with a small clip on it making it perfect to hang off a lanyard for safe keeping.

Season 1 | Season 2 | Season 3 of Survivorman | Mark (and the rest of us) is a huge fan of the show and it’s a perfect way to spend a cool winter night watching Les Stroud spending seven days in some of the harshest climates known to man without food, water or shelter.  He’ll watch them again and again.

If he is already a fan of Surivorman, check out the Survivorman You Sweat You Die T-Shirt | The back of each t-shirt is printed with “You Sweat you Die” and Les Stroud’s autograph.  While I don’t generally notice tags on the inside of the shirt, this shirt features a great one with washing instructions that include the “will to live”.  I love it. So will the kid that you are shopping for.  The DVDs and shirt are available from Les Stroud Productions.

Settlers of Catan | The Settlers of Catan from Mayfair Games is a strategy game where players collect resources and use them to build roads, settlements and cities on their way to victory. The board itself is variable, making each game a little different from the next. Each round of The Settlers of Catan is intended to keep three or four players ages 10 and above engaged for up to 90 minutes.

Risk |Can you accomplish the military objectives before your opponents? With an updated map and all-new playing pieces, increased rewards for bold moves, and easy to learn rules, you’ll be ready to take on whatever lies ahead. Test your nerve with the Basic Training game–a quick and easy way to play. Or, see if you have what it takes to dominate in the fast-paced and strategic Command Room game. Finally prove your courage in World Contest-an updated edition of the classic Risk game. The decision is yours. The time is now. For 3 to 5 players ages 12 and up.

Tech Deck Display Case | Tech Deck’s all over the house?  Yeah our house too. Pick up a wall mounted display case so they can show off their Tech Decks and keep them from getting underfoot.  Toss in some new Tech Decks along with it$15 at Wal-Mart

If he is a skateboard fan, you may want to consider getting him a new skateboard .   While a skateboard is an expression of one’s self, toss in some money for him to get some stickers and accessories.  $25 at Amazon.com.

Last year I recommended BBC’s epic documentary series Planet Earth.  Mark loved it, Wendy loved it, I am sure Oliver loved it.  It was great for the entire family.  This year BBC has come out with Life and it has the same kind of positive reviews that Planet Earth had.  $38 at Amazon.com

Air Hogs Remote Control Helicopter | With the world’s record for the smallest remote-controlled helicopter, the Air Hogs Havoc Heli goes where no other flying object can.  They can be safely flown inside the house where their small size and light weight mean that if your pilot in training does make a mistake, both the vase and the helicopter will survive. $30 at Amazon.com

The Wave Original Street Surfer is an inline action board that blends the sensations of surfing, snowboarding and skateboarding.  It has a fun design where no foot propulsion is required. Riders simply hop on, twists their hips back and forth in an S-shaped motion to achieve forward movement.  It gives riders the ability to perform all sorts of neat tricks because it runs on two wheels rather than four. $90 at Amazon.com.

Magic Igloo Maker | This is only available in Canada and would make for a great Christmas gift anywhere in the country (sans Victoria).  It is a specially designed plastic mould that makes interlocking snow blocks to create big, strong, safe igloos easily and quickly!  According to the website, a large igloo takes anywhere from 2 to 6 hours to complete (depending on how hard you work.  After building it, both body heat and a small candle will cause the snow to melt and the inner surface to harden.  While there are not likely to be a lot of predators in your backyard, it will make is stronger an last longer into the spring. $39.99 for two molds.

If you can find what you are looking for, make sure you check out one of the other 2010 Christmas Gift Guides

In case you are looking, here are the 2009 Gift Guides

Christmas Gift Ideas and Gift GuidesIf I missed anything or if my suggestion made you think I was absolutely crazy, let me know in the comments. You can access the current edition and previous years list of Christmas gift guides here.